Despite the presence of outstanding jazz artists, the producers of this album apparently concluded that to create a "quiet" musical mood the music has to be "depressing." Some of the tunes on this compilation are downright maudlin, especially when included in a program of slow-tempo tunes with lyrics that don't exactly brim with optimism. Verve has collected samples from albums of five of their headline artists, Bill Evans, Shirley Horn, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joe Henderson, and Ella Fitzgerald. The originals were released over a period from 1952 to 1999. The Shirley Horn material is downright mawkish. On the other hand, Ella Fitzgerald demonstrates how to create a relaxing, quiet performance without it being bleak, and does it with two inherently sad songs "Lush Life" and "Spring Can Really Hang You up the Most." Another gem is "Corcovado," where Antonio Carlos Jobim is joined by fellow Brazilian Elis Regina on vocals. "Emily" is a Bill Evans duet with himself. There's always a risk when putting together these kinds of albums, made up of tunes taken out of context of the album which they were originally a part of. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. For this one, Verve got it right about half the time.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan